One of the things I cherish most about Europe, are its enchanting Christmas markets. The glittering lights, the hum of a bewildered crowd, the smell of candied almonds and chestnuts roasting, and of course: the mulled wine. Mulled wine is to the Winter, what ice cream is to the summer: an ephemeral nostalgic pleasure.
And sometimes, when the weather is particularly cold and damp, and the crowds are no longer enjoyable, I dig out my homemade mulled wine recipe, hibernate by the fireplace and enjoy the silence.
Add the following ingredients to a pot, and let it stand for a few hours, or overnight with the lid on, so all the spices can work their fantastic flavors into the juice:
- 200 ml of black current or concord grape juice (I prefer to go with something organic, where no extra sugar has been added)
- Zest of about a third of an Orange (to taste!) (go with organic, to ensure that the rind has not been treated with chemicals)
- 4 Slices of Orange
- 10 whole Cloves
- Teaspoon of ground cinnamon or two cinnamon sticks
- Teaspoon of ground coriander
- A small dash of nutmeg
- Bottle of fruity full bodied red wine (to avoid the wine going sour, I do not add it to the mix above until I am ready to heat everything up!)
After the flavors have incorporated into the juice, strain out the cloves and orange slices and add the liquid to a pot. Add the wine, and simmer it over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. The longer you simmer, the more alcohol will evaporate, which may be the preferred option for some! Do not let the mixture boil!
Spekulatius cookies, are a traditional spiced Christmas-time treat, popular in the north of Germany and throughout parts of France (Spéculoos in French) & Belgium (Speculaas in Dutch). Traditionally these cookies are baked with special wooden forms, but I will have a recipe coming your way soon for an alternative that you can easily make at home. The spices in these cookies compliment the mulled wine, or Glühwein as I refer to it as!